Tuesday, December 31, 2019


Hope everyone had a nice holiday and got some good presents if you celebrate a holiday that involves receiving presents. We celebrated Christmas at my parents' house and since nobody else came over we were able to just stay in our pajamas all day. Treese got me some Star Wars Black Series action figures: Lando Calrissian in Skiff Guard Disguise, Bounty Hunter Droid IG-88, Sabine Wren, and a Jawa. Sabine is a relatively new character from the Star Wars Rebels TV series that premiered in 2014 while the other three are from the original trilogy. I had action figures of them back in the 80s. Remember those figures? They had such articulation as their limbs moving up and down... and maybe the head would swivel. Their little guns would either immediately fall out of their hands or would be pointing off to the side. Action figures sure have come a long way since then.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

We saw Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker last night and absolutely loved it. We both went into it without having seen any trailers, interviews, reviews, or even any of the toys. We purposely avoided any and all potential spoilers so we could go in a fresh as possible without any expectations. From beginning to end we thought it was fantastic. I was surprised to find later that a lot of people liked it less than the previous movie in the saga, The Last Jedi. I thought it was a ton of fun and am excited to check out all the new toys!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

1920s Dinner Party

This past weekend we went to a dinner party put on by my wife's work. It was smaller than last year's James Bond themed party, or perhaps it just felt that way since it was a smaller venue. This year the theme was 1920s. Everyone was dressed up and looking good in their costumes. There were a lot of guys dressed in black shirts with white suspenders which is what Treese was originally thinking of putting me in, so she was happy we did something different. We went with a white shirt with black suspenders, bow tie, and then a hat. She wore a short black dress with a pattern of silver sequins, a long pearl necklace, silver and black earrings, and one of those headband things with the feather sticking up.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Heaters are supposed to heat, right?

It was quite cold the day we returned from Thanksgiving break so I cut on the heater as soon as I walked through the door. An hour later we were feeling no warmth so I checked the vents. Cold air. Our nice new efficient heater wasn't heating. We had only used it a couple times prior and only for a couple hours but it had worked then. I contacted Cold Snap, the company that installed it, and one of the installers, Jon, came out the very next morning. After checking things out he determined that he had accidentally put a cap in the wrong place during the install which allowed condensation to build up instead of draining, thus clogging up the system. He spent a while up there getting it fixed. When he was done we had hot air again.

Everything was great until the next evening when the house started getting colder. I checked the vents and felt cold air. We let them know and they said Jon could come by in the morning. It was still happening the next morning but then suddenly it started blowing warm air again. When Jon arrived and did his inspection he found a hose to be the likely culprit. He said he noticed a small slit in it at the end and from what I understood, when he would touch it then it would no longer create a vacuum. So he got a new hose put in and everything seemed to be working... except that he was seeing an airflow error light show up every once in a while during the tests. We eventually found that to be caused by three of our vents being closed. Once we opened them the error went away. I also replaced the air filter for good measure.

We noticed some cold air blowing from the vents again today, but the house didn't get any colder from it. We asked and apparently that is normal. The furnace is designed to continue blowing for a few minutes after the heating stops in order to remove the heat from the unit. Makes sense. I have a heat gun that does the same thing. Now we just have to angle the vents so it doesn't blow the cold air right on top of our heads. I'd also like to say that Jon really seems like a great guy. He's been very polite and professional throughout everything. He was the one that came out after we demanded American Home Shield send someone else out for a second opinion and has been through the install, all the inspections, and now the repairs. He never made us feel like we were inconveniencing him and when he noticed he made a mistake he owned up to it and didn't try to pass it off on someone else. I respect both him and the company and wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Attic Entrance

In order for Cold Snap to get our new heater up through the attic entrance they had to cut off the half inch of drywall on all sides. This was the part that held the attic entrance cover so when they were done they screwed the drywall pieces back in place. But not all of it survived so there were gaps which didn't create a very good seal. Putting my hand up there I could feel cold air coming through so I knew I had to fix it. I got around to doing that the day that we left for Thanksgiving break while Treese was still at work. I started in the morning and was able to finish before we had to leave.

I went to Lowes and got two 1"x3" 6' whitewood boards as their actual dimensions (0.5"x2.5") were approximate the same as the drywall. I measured out the sections I needed and used the Black+Decker Matrix Trim Saw Attachment that mom had gotten me for my birthday to do the cutting. That attachment is so convenient for small jobs! Then I got the pieces lined up, drilled some pilot holes, and attached them using leftover deck screws I had bought to fix our garage ceiling. The attic entrance cover sits nice and level with no wobbling and I can no longer feel any cold air escaping so I'm happy with it. Later on down the line I may paint the wood and pick up some kind of drywall tape to hide the seams, but there's no rush on that.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Thanksgiving Break: Hike and Wall Climb

Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We visited my parents for the holiday which was nice. My sister, Julia, flew in as well from Colorado and it was great getting to hang out with her. Thanksgiving dinner was a bit smaller than usual with only my grandmothers and Uncle Billy coming. It was still nice, though, as that made it more intimate. And the food was delicious thanks to Treese and Mom.

On the day after Thanksgiving we did a 2.7 mile hike to work off some of that food. Unfortunately Treese had homework to do so she couldn't come. It was cold out but a clear day. The hiking trail was a bit muddy from the previous day's rain but not bad enough to turn around. I thought the cold air really helped as I think if it had been warm out I probably would have been all hot and sweaty by the end.

Then the next day Julia took me to a indoor climbing gym. She was a regular but this was my first time and it sure was a lot of fun. Definitely showed that I need to work on my upper body strength. I made it to the top on my first couple climbs but after that it became much more difficult. By the end I could only make it half way up an easy climb before my arms refused to pull my body up any further. Dad came along to take pictures. Afterwards the three of us went out to lunch. Mom and Treese came to join us after we texted them our plans. We were trying to go to an Indian restaurant but when we got there we found it was permanently closed so we went to the Mexican place next door. It was a good meal and a great holiday break.

Friday, November 22, 2019

New Shut-Off Valve & TV Wall Mount

A while back I discovered that the hot water shut-off valve under the kitchen sink wouldn't shut off all the way. It was a multi-turn valve which just wore out as they tend to do. It is a dual outlet valve which feeds both the sink and the dishwasher and since the lines coming into it from both are a not-very-flexible metal that I'm sure would have broken if I tried to bend them into a different position I needed the dual-outlets to be positioned at a 90 degree angle to each other just like the original valve. Additionally, I wanted the replacement to be a quarter-turn valve so it would last. I couldn't find what I needed at the local hardware stores but of course Amazon had it. Not only that, but they had one which can shut off the water to the dual outputs independently, so I can just shut off the dishwasher or just the sink if I so desired. I spent a couple hours getting that installed yesterday. It really shouldn't have taken so long but there is just so little room to maneuver under there with the garbage disposal and all the pipes in the way.
The day before that we installed a wall mount for our flat screen TV in the living room. That went surprisingly smooth. We already had the studs marked from when we tried to do it several years ago only to find the wall mount we had bought didn't fit our 24" studs. Stud finders can be such a pain so it was nice not to have to do that again. I didn't install an electrical outlet or low-voltage wire pass-through to hide the wires. That'll have to come later. For right now we just put a plant in front of the wires along with a few action figures.